Questions tagged [tense]

時制. Questions relating to that property of verbs which allows them to refer to events in the past, present, or future.

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29
votes
2answers
7k views

ありがとうございます vs. ありがとうございました

When thanking someone, what is the rule for using ありがとうございます vs. ありがとうございました? My sensei taught us to use ありがとうございました when the action you're thanking someone for occurred in the past, but I've heard ...
27
votes
2answers
2k views

“太ってる猫” vs “太った猫”

I saw this sentence and its translation in a textbook 彼女は太った猫が好きじゃない。 She doesn't like fat cats I was under the impression that 「太ってる猫」 means something like “cat that is in the state of becoming ...
23
votes
3answers
2k views

How do I express sentences like: He is dying?

For instance, "He is eating" is "Kare wa tabete iru". However, "He is dying" is not "Kare wa shinde iru". Another example is "He is going to Japan" is not "Kare wa nihon ni itte iru". So if I can't ...
18
votes
1answer
727 views

Why does the narrator switch tenses here?

I'm currently reading The Tale of Peter Rabbit in Japanese, but the opening to the story is confusing me a bit. The actual text reads: [昔々]{むかしむかし}あるところに、四[匹]{ひき}の小さなウサギがいました。彼らの[名前]{なまえ}はプロプシー、...
16
votes
3answers
3k views

Would the plain form of a verb usually be translated as future tense?

In a recent question I asked, this example sentence was offered: 映画を見る。 (I will watch a movie.) What struck me about this was that the translated version was the future tense. However, I always ...
15
votes
2answers
777 views

Why is a verb in the past (た形) contradicted with ~ていない?

In the episode of the anime Sora no Otoshimono linked below, the following exchange occurs several times (beginning at 3:06): A: 呼んだ? You called? B: 呼んでねええ No I didn't! Could someone please ...
14
votes
8answers
18k views

How do I say “before” or “used to” in Japanese?

朝、作文を書いた時、疑問に思いました。 How can I say something like: I didn't use to like this band. Before, I didn't like this band.
12
votes
2answers
4k views

Difference between 行ったから and 行ってから and 行くから

What is the difference in usage between 行ったから and 行ってから and 行くから? Is there a sense of sequence implied in one and not the other? In the following examples where would i be buying the book and where ...
12
votes
1answer
959 views

Present vs. past tense with certain verbs?

~ことにする vs ~ことにした ~と思う vs ~と思った What sort of context would you use either of these? Does the past tense imply that you've changed your decisions or thoughts?
11
votes
2answers
598 views

How to write about something in the future where something will have happened

How could I write about something in the future where something will have happened? That is, I'm writing from the perspective of the current time, about a perspective in the future where something has ...
11
votes
2answers
350 views

Is た形 required when using 自動詞 as an adjective?

From the grammar book I learned that when 自動詞 is being used as an adjective, it should change its form to the た形, for example: 優れ{すぐれ}た学生 拗れ{こじれ}た話し But can I say 優れる学生 or 拗れる話し? Why?
11
votes
1answer
786 views

How should we understand the plain form when used in novels set in the past?

I am trying to understand how the plain form is used in novels set in the past through the explanations in the paper referenced below. I wonder if someone could explain how we should understand the ...
11
votes
1answer
264 views

Does the tense of the final verb ALWAYS dictate the tense of an earlier て form verb?

So I was always taught in my textbooks that the last verb in a sentence dictates the whole tense of the sentence, e.g: 神戸に行って、映画を見ました。 I WENT to Kobe and WATCHED a movie. However, I've started ...
10
votes
1answer
23k views

How do you say “I have been […]”?

How would I say “I have been [...]” as in “I have been studying Japanese.” or “I have been working at an office”? If I remember correctly it is a particular verb conjugation and this would be ...
10
votes
2answers
562 views

How do I decide when to use plain or past verb form?

In (1) 明日、家へ帰って、母が作ったおいしい料理を食べます。 why is it 作った when it’s a future event? If I wanted to create a clause meaning 'delicious food my mother makes', it would be 母が作るおいしい料理. Does changing 作った in (1) ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Usage of 忘れる, 忘れた, 忘れている, 忘れていた

Consider this sentence: それは三十年前のことだから、もう[fill in the blank]。 The answer given by the workbook is 忘れた. Choices are: 忘れる (forget) 忘れた (forgot) 忘れている (continued state of forgetting) 忘れていた (had ...
10
votes
1answer
279 views

Why does native speakers rather say 言う通り not 言った通り?

I was watching a drama (無痛 ep.3) when a short sentence baffled me. The main actor's wife was taking her last breaths, thanking her husband, who himself a doctor, told her, that it would be best to die ...
10
votes
2answers
956 views

好き【すき】でした。付き【つき】合って【あって】ください。

I found many people say 好きでした when they actually mean 好きです. I think it is short for ずっと好きでした. I know ずっと~していた and ずっと~している can well mean the same, but I still do not know the nuance between 好きでした and ...
9
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2answers
3k views

what is the past tense of お腹が空いた?

if お腹が空いた means "I'm hungry", then what would be the past tense of お腹が空いた since (i think) it's already in the past tense?
9
votes
2answers
3k views

い-Adjective Conjugation: かったです vs でした

When we first studied adjective conjugation in my Japanese class, I kept making the same mistake habitually; I would conjugate the past tense of い-adjectives with でした at the end instead of dropping ...
9
votes
1answer
277 views

This PSA was written in the past tense. When is it correct to do this?

While riding a train, I read a public service announcement that said: たばこを持つ手は、子供の顔の高さだった。 Underneath, the English translation said: A lit cigarette is carried at the height of a child's face.  ...
9
votes
1answer
847 views

「卒業して以来」と「卒業した以来」どちらが正しいですか?

I got the wrong answer when playing the 'JLPT Taisen' japanese game. The question is: "田中さんとは、学校を_____以来、会っていない". I think the answer is "卒業した", but "卒業して" is correct. Please teach me why?
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Is 「たくなった」 a typo or a grammatical structure that is different than I think it is?

I have this sentence in my JLPT exercise book: 彼{かれ}は有名人{ゆうめいじん}ゆえの不自由{ふじゆう}さから逃{に}げたくなった。 The translation offered is: He wanted to get away from the difficulties of being a celebrity. What is ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Are Japanese “tenses” aspects in disguise?

I read a lot of posts here saying that Japanese has this thing called "aspects". e.g. Must I use past tense before 後? ありがとうございます vs. ありがとうございました I am confused with Japanese tense Since Japanese ...
8
votes
2answers
479 views

Non conventional usage of the past tense

Why is the past tense used in this verbs (which doesn't make sense to me at least) 生きていた…?違うな…死ねなかったのだよ…! 再生機能を持ったこのアーマーに押し込みおった and the translation uses present tense Survive? That'...
8
votes
2answers
981 views

how to use ~そう past tense

If I want to say, "you look tired", 疲れそう doesn't work, as that is "looks like I/you will get tired", but is 疲れたそう a thing? feels wrong... Is it possible to use ~そう past tense? past negative? Is there ...
8
votes
3answers
591 views

What is the significance of the “の” in the sentence “誰が盗んだのか、誰か知りませんか。”

In another forum, someone said the difference between 誰が盗んだのか、誰か知りませんか。 and 誰が盗んだか、誰か知りませんか。 is that the former has more emphasis on the verb 盗む. Another person said that that's not the case. ...
8
votes
2answers
797 views

Why does 疲れた translate to the present tense

疲れた= I’m tired 1) Why is 疲れた used to indicate a present state? (Is there a logic behind these types of verbs or is it easier to remember these verbs?) 2) What is the difference between 疲れたand 疲れている? ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there a distinction between ‘did“ and ”have done" in Japanese?

According to internet sources and my Chinese friend living in Japan, there isn't. However, can someone provide more evidence on this issue? If there is no grammatical distinction, how can we ...
8
votes
1answer
479 views

Question regarding Zutto and Datta in the same clause

I'm still just learning Japanese,so forgive me if this is a silly question. I'm confused... How can something be "zutto" and "datta" at the same time? (A) ずっと好きだった (zutto suki datta) Which I ...
8
votes
1answer
464 views

~か ~かどうか 相対テンスの質問

僕は任務を完成したかどうかを確認しました。 I checked if you had finished the mission. 僕は任務を完成するかどうかを確認しました。 I checked if you would finish the mission. 僕は沖縄さんがドーナツを食べるかどうかを確認しました。 I checked if 沖縄さん ...
8
votes
2answers
321 views

(When) can you use dictionary form with 間? / 辞書形と「間」は(どんな時に)一緒に使えますか?

I've just learned 間・間に, as in: 私はビーンにいる間、写真をたくさん取りたいですよ。 ジョンは出かけている間、ビールを飲みました。 All the examples on my grammar sheet use present-continuous form (~ている) or いる. (These are my own examples, ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Why 来ています rather than 来ました [duplicate]

This is the first sentence of an NHK article published today (September 2, 2016) discussing the high number of typhoons in waters near Japan. 気象庁によると、ことし6月から8月までに7つの台風が日本の近くに来ています。 According ...
7
votes
4answers
688 views

Meaning of a long dash “――”, and use of past tense in the present

I have this following sentence:   横線――HPバーの名で呼ばれる青いそれは、俺の生命の残量を可視化したものだ。 There are a few questions I came up with about this sentence: The first part of the sentence is: 横線――HPバーの名で呼ばれる青いそれ, ...
7
votes
1answer
583 views

The past tense for the quoting particle って

I have this sentence in front of me 耳元で男の人の声がするのが耐えられないって which is translated as: she said she couldn't stand hearing a male voice near her ear. If I am right, here, って is actually translated ...
7
votes
4answers
3k views

What's the difference between ~てある and ~た (past form)?

As I understand it てある is rather different to ている in that it refers to a resultant state rather than an ongoing action. However I wonder, what then is the practical difference between a resultant ...
7
votes
1answer
255 views

Tense and conjugation: いないみたいでした v.s. いなかったみたいでした

Consider the following four sentences: 1.誰もいないみたいでした。ノックしましたが、返事がありませんでした。 2.誰もいなかったみたいでした。ノックしましたが、返事がありませんでした。 3.誰もいなかったみたいです。ノックしましたが、返事がありませんでした。 4.誰もいないみたいです。ノックしましたが、...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Meaning of, Transitive verb in “te form” + iru vs Intransitive verb in “te form” + iru

When I learnt Japanese I was taught that a transitive verb in its "te form" followed by the verb "iru" represents a continuous action. However, this is not the case with intransitive verbs which ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

What is なく・ない and why is it used?

This question showed the following: 言わない (negative) 言わなく・ない (negative+negative) 言わなく・なかった (negative+negative+past) I've never seen this conjugation before. Why would you have a negative + negative?...
6
votes
1answer
179 views

Can みたい refer to a clause in the past?

I was thinking the other day that one of the differences between みたい and そう (meaning "it seems") is that the first can be bound to a sentence in the past while the second forces the verb of the ...
6
votes
2answers
96 views

住んでいた時 or 住んでいる時

In this question, there is a sentence 私はローマに住んでいた時に子供でした。 My question is: do we need to consider relative tense here? Can we say 住んでいる時 to mean that the event that I was living in Rome (A) and ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the difference between 〜ている and 〜中?

When we want to expresss that something is in progress, we can use the progressive form: 勉強している studying But another way of expressing a progressing action is by adding 中 to the noun: 仕事中 ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

What's the difference between “plain form + とき” and “ta-form + とき“?

According to the book I'm reading, both of these sentences translate to: “I bought a bag when I went back to my country”. 国へ帰るとき、かばんを買いました。 国へ帰ったとき、かばんを買いました。 Now the nuance, if I understand ...
6
votes
2answers
181 views

Why does 音を表したことば use the past tense?

In the sentence オノマトペとは、ものの様子や音を表したことばです。 why is it 音を表したことば rather than 音を表していることば? I'm reading https://japanese.stackexchange.com/a/11976 but I'm not sure if this sentence produces a ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the difference between ことにする and ことにした?

みんなの日本語 中級I - Lesson 3 says that V (dictionary form) ことにする is used to express the decision to do something. If I say 私は日本へ行くことにしました。 this can be translated as “I decided to go to Japan”. This is ...
6
votes
1answer
188 views

Sentence in the present tense when the text is in the past tense?

ゲームをやめるとグループから外されるんじゃないかといつも不安でした。不安になった日の翌朝は、友だちにすごく優しくするんです。 そうやって友だちに奉仕して、関係を無理矢理にでもうまくつなごうとしていました。いつの間にか友だちづきあいに疲れてしまっていましたね(source) I don't understand why the past tense isn't used for 優しくする(=>...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Attributive form in Japanese narration

I have recently started reading novels as a means to improve my Japanese after reaching a comfortable enough level to do so. I am familiar with the use of the non-past form (dictionary form) in ...
6
votes
1answer
145 views

Usage of した時 vs. している時?

I was reading a passage (from AIAIJ) and came across this sentence: ベティーは、日本でホームステイをした時、スリッパの使い方になれるまで、ずいぶん時間がかかった。 I was wondering why した時 is used. To me, this gives me the nuance of "After Betty ...
6
votes
3answers
947 views

Present Perfect in Genki I

In the Genki I textbook, they seem to reference the present perfect tense three times, but each with a different grammar. Here they are, with book-style English translations: 日本に行っています。(Ch 7, 〜ている ...
6
votes
1answer
666 views

How 聞いてた differs from 聞いた in this context?

I think ていた/ている is often used in the following context. A:Bla Bla Bla A:話、聞いてた? B:ごめん。聞いてなかった。ちょっと、ボーッとしてた Another context A said something to B before he left, but B didn't hear it. B: ...